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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21448
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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I have three kittens that I have been taking care of since

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I have three kittens that I have been taking care of since they were abandoned by their mother the day they were born. They are 5 weeks old and I can't teach them to lap. Any suggestions?

Hello, Carole and welcome!

My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to assist you and your three kittens today.

Bless you for taking them in and giving them a safe and loving home after their mother abandoned them!

Lapping liquids is not too difficult to teach kittens of this age, especially if they have already started eating solids (canned and/or dry kitten food). If they are not yet eating solids, they should be started, now. If you need help with that also, please let me know. If they are still nursing from a bottle, this may be the reason they have no desire to lap; they're receiving their fluids in a different way and are only used to suckling.

Place a shallow bowl of KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer or whichever formula you're using) on some sheets of newspapers with a plastic tarp or garbage bag underneath. This will be a messy job! : ) Take a clean finger and touch it to the first kitten's mouth with a drop of the KMR; he should lick it. Repeat this several times, then start moving your finger closer to the bowl each time, so that the kitten bends down his head and starts lapping. Don't be discouraged if this doesn't happen immediately. Consistency and patience are essential. Repeat this with each kitten separately and they will soon get the idea and start lapping. They should continue having the kitten formula for another week or two and fresh water, also in a very shallow bowl, should be available at all times.

I hope this helped!

Please keep me posted on how they are doing. Thanks!

If you need any additional information, click 'Reply' and I will answer as soon as possible.

If you found my answer helpful, please kindly provide a Positive Rating and Positive Feedback on the survey; I would appreciate it. Thanks!

Warmest regards,

Cher and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Hi again, Carole.

Your positive rating and most generous bonus are truly appreciated; thank you!

I hope all will be well with your three little lapping 'students'! Smile

Warmest wishes,

PS: No additional information is required at this time; this is simply a 'thank you'! : )
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Cher,

Just a little bit of background on my three littles. My neighbor's grandchildren found the mom giving birth to the kittens in my bushes and began chasing her. She tried to flee with the kittens in her mouth and they kept chasing her. By the time I got out there, she had dropped the kitten she was carrying and disappeared. I called the vet, and he said once she was convinced of danger enough to drop the kitten she was carrying she would never be back. We found a second kitten in the bushes, so we took it in as well.

A week ago, a different neighbor found a kitten being mistreated by their dog and brought it to me. I really think this is their litter sister and that the mother had the rest of her litter in the other yard. Se is the same size as they are, maybe a little smaller, but going by teeth, the same age.

I already have good homes for all three as soon as they are able to eat solid food and go without eating while people are at work. They have agreed to my condition that if they can't keep the kitten it comes back to me and I will find a new home for it. My shitzu thinks she is their momma and will have a hard time giving them up. (She was abandoned as well, and she has bonded with them.)

At least taking care of them has helped me through the death of my wolf-dog.
Anyway, I thought you might find the back story interesting. Hope you have a wonderful day and thank you so much for your help.




Hi again, Carole and you're most welcome.

Thanks very much for sharing the backstory on your kittens. It's too bad that they had to be separated from their mom-cat due to the circumstaces you described, but thank goodness you were able to rescue them and knew what to do to feed and take care of them! Bless you!

My heartfelt condolences on the loss of your wolf-dog. I'm glad taking care of the kittens helped you through that.

You are so smart to have homes already lined up for them! : )

Don't give them to their new homes until they are at least 7-8 weeks old, completely off kitten formula, eating and drinking on their own and using the litterbox on their own. Typically, they would learn these things from their mom-cat, but now, you are their mom, so you will need to teach them. Now I understand why you wanted to know how to teach them to lap! : )

If they are not yet eating solids, mix smooth canned kitten food with kitten formula to make a soupy consistency, place it in a shallow bowl or on a teacup saucer and use the method I described yesterday. Keep in mind, this will be messy; they might step in the food and/or the liquid at first, in fact, they may get more ON them than INTO them, so that is why I recommended putting down some newspaper and plastic under the bowls and to protect the surrounding areas.

To get them to used the litterbox, which they usually start doing when they start eating solids, place each in the litterbox right after eating, as this is when they usually eliminate; gently take a front paw and scratch at the litter to give them an idea of what needs to be done (use unscented clay litter at first, as clumping litter is not recommended for young kittens because they might eat it). They might jump out at first, but keep putting them back in there a few times and if they do nothing, put them back in every 10 minutes until they 'produce' something, then praise them highly. Once one of them masters this, the others will follow suit. This is how the mom-cat teaches them, by example. They will also learn social skills by playing with each other and play stalking-hunting, etc., plus, of course, interacting with you, so when they're ready to go to their new homes, they will have all the necessary skills.

Again, SO smart of you to tell their new owners that if, for any reason, they can't keep them, to return them to you! : )

I hope all will work out well for these 3 cuties who were given a chance at life due to YOU!

Thanks for your good wishes; I hope your day is wonderful, as well!

Warmest regards,
Cher and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Carole,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Sebastian, Einstein, And Belle. How is everything going?

Hi again, Carole.

Your positive rating and most generous bonus are truly appreciated. Thank you!

I hope your kittens have mastered the art of lapping! : )

Warmest regards to you and your feline family,